We are not going to pretend that we know everything there is to know about these two issues nor do we fully understand the evangelical opposition to either forms of research. We have read books on cloning and listened to Michael J. Fox’s and others arguments for stem cell research and we understand their reasoning to want to pursue these two different research options to prevent and heal diseases.
We understand that those inflicted with different illnesses are more interested in becoming healthy again and may not care about ethical arguments concerning their treatment or source of medicine. People today simply do not want to die or they do not want to be crippled at a young age. by some debilitating disease. This brings us to AIG’s latest paper in stem cell and cloning research. They did a wonderful job describing what is entailed in the process of conducting cloning and stem cell medicine
Here is a link to their paper: https://answersingenesis.org/sanctity-of-life/cloning/what-about-cloning-and-stem-cells/?utm_source=articlesmedia&utm_medium=email&utm_content=featurebutton&utm_campaign=20160116&mc_cid=a7e612eb1c&mc_eid=1f354f76fc
Their presentation of the evangelical opposition is boiled down to this statement;
As has been noted, embryonic stem cells are obtained by the destruction of an embryo. An embryo is fully human. So in order to get these stem cells to help one person, another person must be killed. This is simply morally unacceptable.
Which we understand and accept. We do not advocate the intentional killing of anyone just so that some other person may be healed of a disease and enjoy life. We must ask why the unhealthy person’s right to live a healthy and full life trumps the rights of those who are intentionally killed. Do they not have the right to be born and enjoy a long and full life as well?
Then we can answer the point that stem cells are taken from those killed by uncaring people through a variety of ways, abortion, euthanasia, or some other ethically unsound methods (and we are not talking about murder, accidents etc. here). Do the ends justify the means? And we would argue that the ideology of ‘the ends justify the means’ just opens the Pandora’s box of excuses and justifications that can be used to terminate the lives of different people.
How can we justify taking the lives of who were once called Mongoloid children or those disabled through cerebral palsy or some other genetic malfunction just to preserve the quality of life for some more mentally and financially healthy person? Who gets to decide who lives or dies? Where do we draw the line in who is eligible to be condemned to death so that a few others may live disease free?
I certainly would not leave the decision up to medical or scientific professionals as their judgment is severely handicapped by their bias and wanting to fight disease and death (two unstoppable and incurable forces). Their ethical stances are also suspect and heavily questioned as some people are known to hurl the ‘all science is good science’ battle cry whenever someone tries to place morality and ethics upon their research field.
Even though they may be more qualified experientially to make such decisions, morally, ethically and theologically they are disqualified and do not hold the authority it takes to play God. We would not want theologians to make such decisions because they value life far to greatly to be able to make the tough decisions of who lives and who dies. It is also not in their job description to be God.
We do not find any human that can qualify to be in charge of this decision-making and while we are faced with this dilemma in natural situations, it is not a decision that can be left to human understanding and intellect alone. We need the help of God no matter what in order to make the right call. This brings us to AIG’s argument against stem cell research. They say:
As has been shown, stem cell therapy has the potential to alleviate much suffering. It is an avenue of medical research that should be pursued in hopes of building on the successes already achieved. However, in our haste to help the sick, we must not neglect those who cannot speak for themselves. Adult stem cell therapy can allow us to fight disease without the destruction of human life.
Although everyone wants to see such devastating diseases come to an end, we all must realize our work will only lead to a temporary alleviation. Jesus Christ, the true conqueror of disease and death, will create a new heaven and a new earth where the effects of sin have been removed. That is the cure we eagerly await.
I find that the reason I do not understand the evangelical opposition so well is because the evangelicals do not go far enough in their position to have a credible argument against these types of research. Yes what AIG says is correct but it is also viewed as pie in the sky by those who do not believe and who are affected by disease. They won’t experience this end result because they may not repent of their sins. The reason for this is because the evangelical does not go far enough in their Christian work to make accepting the Christian faith attractive or worth while.
By this I am referring to the passage in John which states
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.(14:12 NASB)
We have people who have the gifts of healing and other gifts of the Spirit and talents given by God which could avoid the need for the medical research options of cloning and stem cells. While there are some out there who are doing greater works as Jesus said, their numbers are too few and the opposition is great. This is what troubles me about AIG’s answer to the problem.
They are not encouraging people to exercise their spiritual gifts or talents and do the work of Jesus, which drew crowds of people to the faith,instead they are telling evangelicals to sit on their hands and do nothing. It is no wonder that the church i snot making a great impact for God. part of the church’s ministry is greatly missing. It is no wonder that so many unbelievers deny the existence of both God and Jesus. They do not see his followers bring God’s healing and miraculous power to bear. In other words they do not see God in action or that he cares about them.
All the unbeliever is offered is more suffering and some faint promise that they do not believe nor accept. Some Christians may argue that the age of miracles is over but we do not find that restriction in those quoted words of John. The general term ‘he who believes in me…’ demolishes the argument that the age of miracles is over and tells us that we can still use miracles to bring people to Christ today and end their suffering for a while.
Healing does not change the rules and people healed will eventually suffer and die. Healing shows the world that God exists and that he cares. AIG’s answer falls far short of communicating that needed message. Christians using their gifts of the Spirit demonstrate that Jesus really is the conqueror of death and disease where it really counts–before it is too late for people to repent and accept Jesus as their Savior. When is it too late to do this act of faith? For most it is when they die, for others it is when they pursue their own lusts and God has given them over to those lusts.
Our view is that cloning and stem cell research may not be needed if those who truly believe started acting more like Jesus and brought God’s power to those who suffer. This way God gets the glory not medical science. One thing is for sure the killing of innocent people so that others may live is not a noble or just act. it is an injustice that we cannot allow but when we oppose this type of research we must be ready to provide more than a pie in the sky answer. As we read about Jesus and his disciples we see that along with their message of repentance they did good works.
We cannot do less than they for we are followers of Jesus,we have or have access to the same power and we must act before evil does and before it is too late. The gift of healing is not the only gift we can use to do good works, so if one does not have that gift there are other ways to show that God exists and cares. You just have to let the Holy Spirit guide you to what you are to do and make sure God gets the glory.